5 Top Trends in Smart Mobility You Should Know About

In January 2021, the U.S. Department of Transportation announced an open design challenge that would award $41 million for the development of 15 new “innovative, inclusive, and affordable transportation technologies that address mobility and access [problems].”

The prize was awarded to projects that increased mobility options across multiple modes of transportation, helped plan complete trips and made Autonomous Vehicles (AVs) more accessible.

The U.S. and other governments across the world are increasingly seeking public- and private-sponsored research and partnerships to make faster headway into smart mobility.

Download our free ebook Harnessing the Potential Opportunities of Mobility as a Service

Learn how different countries have carried out private-public partnerships to deploy smart mobility and the host of opportunities for solution providers, entrepreneurs and investors.

As mobility issues take center stage in the public agenda, the global smart mobility market is expected to grow from $421.32 billion in 2020 to $3.29 trillion in 2029, at a CAGR of 29.33%. Global smart cities’ market size is also expected to grow from $410.8 billion in 2020 to $820.7 billion by 2025, at a CAGR of 14.8%.

Top Trends in Smart Mobility

Connectivity, electrification, automation and shared mobility are expected to thrust the industry forward at an unprecedented speed.

Mobility and transportation solutions are focusing on environmentally-friendly, connected, autonomous and human-centric commutes that are personalized, accessible and inclusive. Some of the trends shifting this focus include:

Shared Mobility

Shared mobility is the low-hanging fruit that can help lessen the negative impacts of environmental damage. Of the 1.42 billion operating cars in the world, an alarming 98% still use gasoline or diesel.

While shared mobility alone won’t reverse the effects of climate change, it’s an easy and energy-efficient way to make an immediate difference.

As ridesharing apps continue to rise, BuildFire.ai estimates that 540 million people use ridesharing apps — 18% of all smartphone users.

Mobility-as-a-Service (MaaS)


From bicycle-centric schemes to vehicle rentals, governments are investing in consumer-centric approaches to urban mobility, with the eventual goal being to replace individual car ownership in big cities.

Big Data, AI and platforms have put MaaS at the forefront of mobility trends. With applications like purchasing tickets, planning itineraries, ridesharing and many others, this technology-driven disruption is changing the way users approach mobility.

Since 2019, the users of MaaS platforms have increased fivefold to reach 1.3 million in 2021, with cities like Helsinki, Vienna, Berlin and Stockholm leading the way in MaaS implementation.

AI in Mobility

AI and data are the two cornerstones of smart mobility, enabling the efficiency of public transport and streamlining traffic.

Electric vehicles, smart parking, connected vehicles and autonomous vehicles are all viable due to AI. In addition, this technology is also improving pedestrian safety through computer vision and video analytics.

Used in conjunction with transport management software, AI is mitigating the risks of careless driving and making public pedestrian areas safer.

By 2020, 30% of smart city applications featured AI compared to only 5% a few years ago.

Open Data and Open Mobility

Availability of data and open-source technology will continue to affect transparency in smart mobility.

As cities turn to technological innovations to manage their transportation infrastructure, open-source technology will play a pivotal role.

Nonprofits like Open Mobility Foundation are working with various governments and stakeholders in public and private sectors to “develop and promote technology used by commercial mobility service providers and governments that manage the public right-of-way.”

CEO and founder of XYZT.ai Lida Joly says, “The usage of connected car data in smart city applications outside of the automotive and transport industry [such as] environment, insurance, road infrastructure, safety [will increase]. In addition, there will be a growing need for visual analytics tools to help the everyday analyst to extract the necessary insights easily.”

Autonomous Vehicles (AV) and Electric Vehicles (EV)

While AVs and EVs are still dwarfed by legacy vehicles, they are both gaining traction, thanks to advancements in technologies coupled with confidence in them.AVs are no longer the domain of companies such as Google or Tesla. Mainstream car manufacturers like Honda have started leasing limited edition sedans equipped with automated driving equipment. Although not completely autonomous, Honda’s cars are a move in that direction.

Fleets of automated vehicles may be a few years away, but electric vehicles are beginning to gain dominance.

In the U.S., around August 2020, there were 26,000 electric vehicle charging stations open to the public. By February 2021, that number had reached 97,589. And in the UK, the number of electric vehicle charging points jumped from 5,000 in 2016 to about 17,026 in November 2021, with 924 being added in the last 30 days.

The complex challenges of rapid urbanization and the growing population are putting increased demands on digital solutions and innovative infrastructures to tackle inefficiencies and increase accessibility in mobility.

Sign up for MIT SA+P Smart Mobility: Reimagining the Future of Transportation Tech & Sustainable Cities to understand the latest innovations in mobility and how to create new solutions that support smart mobility goals.

MIT SA+P Smart Mobility: Reimagining the Future of Transportation Tech & Sustainable Cities is delivered as part of a collaboration with MIT School of Architecture + Planning and Esme Learning. All personal data collected on this page is primarily subject to the Esme Learning Privacy Policy.


© 2021 Esme Learning Solutions. All Right Reserved.